Ex-Attorney Scott Saidel Gets Three Years For Helping Kim Rothstein Hide Jewels
As disbarred attorney Scott Saidel headed for his car Monday after being sentenced to three years in federal prison for helping Kim Rothstein hide jewelry from federal agents, he said he was thankful he was wasn't taken into custody right away.
All Saidel wanted to do was get home to Boca Raton where his dog was dying of cancer.
Saidel wept as he addressed U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenbaum, apologizing to the judge, prosecutors, friends, family and the woman who basically had ruined his life: Kim Rothstein.
She is scheduled to be sentenced next month by Rosenbaum. Saidel told the Fort Lauderdale judge she "would not find herself standing here in this very same spot at a later time if I had simply been a better lawyer."
The congenial attorney lost his profession and his marriage and will soon lose his freedom for trying to help Rothstein hide money she made selling jewelry and other items purchased with money from investors in a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme run by her attorney-husband Scott Rothstein.
Saidel was charged with conspiracy to launder money, obstruct justice and tamper with a witness.
Defense attorney Tama Beth Kudman of West Palm Beach told Rosenbaum her client was in over his head when Kim Rothstein came to him for help and was "being more of a friend than a lawyer."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence D. LaVecchio took exception to Saidel's letter to the court that depicted his crime as an error in judgment. He noted the money was deposited carefully in Saidel's trust account over a long period of time to avoid the attenation of the Internal Revenue Service.
Then there was the plan to approach Scott Rothstein, who is serving a 50-year prison sentence, to lie in a deposition about the missing $1 million worth of jewels, LaVecchio said. Kim Rothstein, Saidel and others wanted Rothstein testify that 12-carat yellow diamond ring and a loose diamond were sold to a jeweler who died after the fraud collapsed in October 2009.
Kim Rothstein's gambled that nobody would notice the missing jewels, but the bankruptcy trustee for Rothstein's law firm, Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler, and the jeweler who sold him the items were intent on tracking them down to reimburse Ponzi victims.